"And why not?" Balmayne growled. "Stranger things have happened. I know a poor man at this minute who owns one of the richest gold mines in the world. He won't work it because when the gold was found he quarrelled with his partner on the spot and killed him. That's a fact.""You can spend the hundred pounds as you please, dearest," he said. "I am going to tell you a secret. I have had a lovely slice of luck. Forty five-pound banknotes that I never for one moment expected came my way."
Hetty admitted the fact with a sigh. She had no illusions as to the future. Unless something like a miracle happened Gordon was certain to stand in the dock charged with the murder of a man unknown. Examined in the cold light of day, Gordon Bruce's story was an extraordinary one. Hetty was forced to admit that from the lips of a stranger she would not have believed a word of it."A very singular circumstance, is it not?" he asked, quietly.Hence she drove on to the Metropole with the hope of seeing Maitrank. She had to wait there till she was angry and impatient. Hitherto she had not had to wait. She was going to get to the bottom of that diamond business if she had to stay all day. A stolid clerk came out and said Herr Maitrank was disengaged.
"Convey him into the house," the Countess ordered.CHAPTER LXI. LOGIC.
"This is an accursed house," he said presently. "My father went mad here and committed suicide. My wife did the same thing, but then she was the victim of one of the greatest fiends that ever took mortal guise."
"You remember the case of my wife?" Charlton asked suddenly. "Ah, I see you do. Well, I am going to tell you my story. You are a man of sentiment and feeling, or your novels greatly belie you. And a doctor always respects confidence. When my wife died there was an inquiry extending over many days. The great question was: Had she poisoned herself, did she take poison by misadventure, or did I kill her? Nine people out of every ten believed I was guilty. I let them believe it at the risk of my neck, and why?""And what do you want with me?" he asked. "So, you are the young man who got into trouble over a mistake as to your employer's goods."
An approving chorus followed from the others.
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"Ticket pocket of my overcoat," laughed Lawrence. "But you'll be found out, Stead. Being a critic, the public would never take you seriously."
"Look at the bottom of those saucepans," said Lawrence. "See how they are smoked; at the same time there is no soot on them. Our quarry has not dared to light a fire by reason of the smoke. It is quite plain that Hetty was not mistaken when she said she saw a hand holding a kettle over the gas. And, by Jove, this kettle is warm still!"The woman moved on without further sound or protest. She came at length to a room at the back of the house, and fumbled along the wall. There was a click, and the place was flooded with brilliant light.详情
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